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Central West Virginia Community Action Association assistance programs.

Serving the counties of Harrison and Lewis, Central West Virginia Community Action Association provides educational, housing and emergency services to low-income and working poor families. There are also resources for the disabled and senior citizens in the region. In some cases, either financial aid in the form of grants or loans may be issued for paying certain bills, including food, mortgages or rent or energy costs.

Adult and children educational and employment programs from Community Action in Central West Virginia

The organization administers Head Start, which was created as a federally funded, early childhood preschool program designed for three- or four-year-old children. The service is for those from low-income families, and there is also enrollment as well for children suffering from significant disabilities, whether mental or physical.

Head Start from CWVCAA includes comprehensive support services for enrolled children and their families. This can health, educational and nutritional support in the form of free food or meals and even free dental care from clinics in West Virginia. There is also assistance pertaining to family, mental health and those disabilities.

The agency will require parental involvement, and community-family partnerships are available as well which can address lack of employment or other barriers to self-sufficiency. In addition, transportation is provided for children residing within designated boundaries, such as Harrison County.

According to Central West Virginia Community Action Association, Head Start offers activities to help foster mental, social, emotional and physical growth among participants. To be successful at this, that parental involvement indicated above is critical.

CWVCAA also provides educational and employment support for adults. Under the agency’s ABE - Adult Basic Education program, in-class or online General Educational Development test preparation is available. Those skills can help lead to part or even full time employment at a somewhat decent wage in West Virginia. There is information on various income opportunities, ranging from passive income for building wealth to work at home jobs, career counseling and more.




Furthermore, English-as-a-second-language courses (ESL), as well as instruction in basic reading, writing and math, are offered. Other classes held by the agency or its partners are focused on the skills needed to transition to employment or post-secondary education. This will include topics such as computer skills, job-seeking skills and career assessment.

Apply for grants, emergency financial help from CWVCAA

For families in crisis, the Community Action Association of Central West Virginia providesemergency utility or heating bill assistance to help prevent service disruption. There may also be government grants for rent or a deposit to stop evictions and homelessness.

The organization’s emergency services department acts as a hub for information regarding community service agencies and matches those in need of help with the services that they require in Lewis County. The outreach office from the non-profit canvasses communities to link information and programs, seeking to work with communities to build cultures of self-assurance and self-help.

Meanwhile, throughout this process, the emergency services department coordinator meets with local schools, churches, charities, businesses and other agencies to disseminate information about the Office of Human Affairs (OHA) and offers assistance where necessary.

EFSP is among the programs provided by Central West Virginia Community Action Association department, and it relies on federal government funding. The program serves applicants from the region, but due to limited funding, often runs out of money due to the demand from the community.





Emergency food and shelter (EFSP) expands the Community Outreach Center’s capacity for providing food, clothing, rent help and shelter through direct services. If funding is not available, which is common, then referrals may be provided to other agencies for assistance or a loan may be issued instead. In addition, the program offers help with rent/mortgage and utility bills.

For income-eligible households, CWVCAA offers assistance for heating or cooling costs through its energy bill assistance program in Harrison and other counties. Specifically, the fuel assistance program helps alleviate home-heating costs, and applications are accepted from October through November.

The LIHEAP crisis assistance program, meanwhile, is intended for emergency heating bills needs, such as preventing disconnections, when no other resource is available. From November 1 through March 15, this program accepts applications for help with the repair or replacement of heating equipment, a one-time-only security deposit and/or emergency shelter. Moreover, the crisis assistance program accepts applications for financial assistance for paying heating bills or repairs to a furnace.

Free meals, food and groceries from Central West Virginia Community Action Association

Central West Virginia Community Action Association also maintains a food pantry and can also direct clients to soup kitchens. The department is a member of the food bank of West Virginia. Groceries and canned goods are provided at no cost and comprises bread, meat, fresh vegetables, and canned and dry goods, as donation levels allow. There are also classes on grocery shopping, saving money, or sources of free coupons.

Although individuals are typically limited to receiving food once per quarter, exceptions are made depending on personal circumstances, such as for senior citizens and the disabled. While not always available, CWVCAA will try to offer larger food supplements during the November and December holidays.

Homebuying, credit and debt counseling assistance

The community action agencies comprehensive housing counseling program also provides an array of services to potential first-time homebuyers and persons eligible for assistance under buying, home-ownership or rental-housing programs. As an example, this service helps eligible renters, including public housing and Section 8 participants, locate and qualify for low income assisted rental units.

Central West Virginia Community Action Association also helps eligible homebuyers obtain affordable mortgages or home loans. Specialists will work with applicants on locating and applying for this. In addition to all of that, it aids existing homeowners in avoiding foreclosures or evictions from an apartment.

In addition, the agency offers individual and group training for credit counseling. There is also money and budget management sessions coordinated, pre- and post-purchase homeownership counseling and clients can learn their rights on homeowners’ rights and responsibilities. There is also counseling for debt issues.

Other advice from CWVCAA includes tenancy mediation, mortgage default counseling, help with credit card debts, and home equity conversion/reverse mortgage counseling. Assistance is available for all federal, state, local or private loan products, and the services are free to anyone. Read more on how to get debt help.





Phone and contact information for Central West Virginia Community Action Agency

For more information regarding any of the aforementioned programs, contact Central West Virginia Community Action Association at (304) 622-8495. There are multiple intake and application offices in Harrison as well as Lewis County.

By Jon McNamara

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